Yang Jisheng's Tombstone is the book that broke the silence on of one of history's most terrible crimes
More people died in Mao's Great Famine than in the entire First World War, yet this story has remained largely untold, until now. Still banned in China, Tombstone draws on the author's…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Tombstone as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
I treat Yang’s book as a bible for understanding China’s Great Famine (1958-1962). This famine remains little known to many people, including China’s younger generations. The Communist regime censors writings about this famine and controls the access to famine-related data and information.
As a senior journalist, Yang had privileged access to archives. He spent about twenty years piecing together the famine. His account of the famine is comprehensive with detail. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand China’s Great Famine. It greatly helped my studies in improving China’s food security and in avoiding future famines.
Yang, a recent graduate of an elite Chinese university, was a reporter for the official New China News Agency during the Great Leap Forward of 1958 to 1960, and he witnessed first-hand the tragic consequences of misconceived agricultural policies that generated a well-documented 30 million deaths due to starvation, the greatest famine in Chinese history, almost entirely man-made. Yang’s vivid and heart-wrenching first-hand account, well-grounded in long-classified official documents, lays bare the suffering created by a bureaucratic machine that accelerated out of control, forcing peasants to turn over grain to the state even as they starved.
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